As a mama, there are several special moments in parenthood that I dream about. The first, "I love you." The first hug. The first steps onto the schoolbus. The first time Cole writes his own name.
And the first time my baby hands me a flower that he picked just for me.
I remember countless times as a child picking flowers (usually without a stem) and bringing them to my mom. It's a rite of childhood, handing over something beautiful to someone you love. It's a first indication of thinking of someone else more than yourself.
This afternoon, it happened. Cole and I were outside, holding hands as we picked our way carefully across the uneven ground. He spied a bright yellow flower (weed) on the ground, reached down, and plucked it from the mud. With a bright grin, he handed it up to me and clapped his hands, so proud of himself.
I knelt down and hugged him tight, eager to show him just how much that simple yellow flower meant to me. "Thank you, sweetie. It's a beautiful flower. I love it."
He smiled at me and patted my back lovingly. Then, encouraged by all the attention from his little gift, he scanned the ground for something else special to give me.
I stood up, admiring the flower and thinking about how much love I felt from my little man, when his tiny fist reached up to me once again. I held out my hand, ready for the next sweet treasure...
...and he lovingly pressed a piece of deer poop into my hand, clapped his hands enthusiastically, and searched my face for the same level of excitement.
Parenthood. You never know what's going to happen next - usually exactly the opposite of what you expect.
ps. Fortunately, I had a bottle of Purell on me, and yes, the instant I could drop the deer poop without Cole seeing, I tossed it and lathered us both with hand sanitizer.